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RE: Mailing list invitation

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I consider the announcment of the FEMA grant to Cal-Tech as an indication that our profession, willing or not, is driven to expand our basic life safety credo to include damage mitigation. I appreciate the discussions we have had and the concerns related to more or less regulation and engineer involvment in an area that historically lacked our presence.

As Don Carr indicated in conversations with me, NAHB RC (National Association of Home Builders Research Center) has had similar concerns arising from the damaged caused by natural disasters. NAHB RC has been benificial in the advancement of residential codes, which became evident in their involvement under a grant by the American Iron and Steel Institute - with the help of the Light Gauge Steel Engineers Association (LGSEA) - that led to the publication of the 1997 Cold-form steel section of the UBC.

It's interesting that the results of the Cold-Formed steel cyclic testing performed under the guidance of Professor Reynaud Surrette (spelling?) of Santa Clara University (and in accordance with the cyclic test procedures published by SEAoSC) has led to a  more ecconomical design than previously done under the monotonic testing performed by APA. This is not meant to denigate the work done by APA on steel stud shearwalls which was the standard used prior to acceptance of Surrette's work. However, it is an example of where engineering research has resulted in construction ecconomy.

I believe that the expected goal of REACH is to improve the performance of residential structures by education of our industry - more so than stricter design methodologies or government intervention.  This will, hopefully, be accomplished by defining the responsiblities of each member of the team involved in residential construction from concept to reality. This does not imply that each member shall play an active roll in every project, but the synergy between professions should lead to clearer prescriptive methodologies, expectation for minimum drawing submittals, the roll and stages of interaction of building officials and inspectors, and finally an education or accredidation process for builders responsible for the structural assembly of the home.

I believe the REACH Listservice will be a very important link if used by engineers, architects and builders as a virtual committee to work internationally to improve construction quality. It is also important that this link have accessibility to the work done by Cal-Tech under the provisons of the FEMA grant. This is not just a regional issue and the potential work accomplished by REACH could be helpful to the continued development of conventional construction provisions within the IBC.

I would recommend the REACH List to members of our profession who specialize in residential design.

I have not discussed the necessity for membership in REACH with Don, but would believe that membership is not required for Listservice participation. However, as with any professional affiliation, membership is the only means to maintain the work generated by these organizations. I do intend to join, as I believe the REACH program will be benificial to the work I do. I advised Don to place his notice on our list without insinuating a promotion for paid membership - however, with any professional organization, membership is it's life blood. 

I invite others on the list to evalute the benifits that might be obtained from REACH as well as the benifits that REACH will provide for the building industry.


Dennis S. Wish PE